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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

KILLER GAME, SPORT AS WAR; citizen, patriot beware

Violence in whatever place, by whatever name—why I was never attracted to spectator sport and abandoned TV long ago
Excerpting, minor editing, interspersed comment by 
Carolyn Bennett


In the United States of America, “The defense industry has bound itself to the government and the blind acceptance of this by the American public has allowed the military-industrial complex to institutionalize itself in, and become an integral part of, the American economy.

“When an economy and a culture are based on a militarized society, it makes it more likely and close to inevitable that that society will go to war, that it will always find someone else to fight.

“The NFL, as an entertainment industry and the country’s most popular and profitable sport, is just the most transparent articulation of this society.  Patriotism is not a negative characteristic in a society. Militarism is.” [Rowan Kane writes September 9, 2013, in “The NFL and the Militarization of the American Public.”]
Pageantry, Props, LAZY PATRIOTS

“The military’s agitprop, exemplified in the Tillman story, actively fosters a kind of lazy patriotism that makes people disinclined to ask tough questions about the broader context of our soldiers’ sacrifice.

“Just snap a selfie with the statue, dutifully bow your head when some ‘support the troops’-type bromide gets blasted through stadium speakers during warm-ups, and that’s it. You’ve done your duty…. “

Use the, abuse them, discard them: “Tillman was a man possessed of exceptional bravery and a fiercely independent mind. But his story is also one of cynical image management conducted at the highest levels of the American military in order to foster public support for war. And it's precisely this kind of pernicious narrative building that animates much of the U.S. military’s marketing, which, it just so happens, thoroughly saturates NFL games.

“Tillman died from ‘friendly fire.’ His Ranger platoon was traveling through a valley in Southeast Afghanistan when, in response to a couple of rifle shots from local insurgents aimed at the back half of the convoy, Tillman, another ranger, and a local Afghan militia fighter set up position overlooking the mouth of the valley. One of the tail-end humvees emerged, mistook Tillman and the others for enemies, and opened fire. During several minutes of shooting, three bullets shattered his skull. He’d been repeatedly shouting—screaming— ‘Why are you shooting at me? I'm Pat fucking Tillman!’” [Rob Montz writes February. 1, 2015, in “Super Bowl XLIX as a Case Study in the Mechanics of Pro-War Propaganda”]

elcome home. Thanks for your service.

Montz: “The conception and execution of US wars in the 21st century has often been epically inept.

“In Iraq, as extensively documented, a complete lack of post-invasion planning left allied forces flat-footed once sectarian violence filled the power vacuum created by Saddam's fall.

“Seriously: a 21-year-old whose most significant job up to that point had been driving an ice cream truck was charged with purging the central government of Baathist militia.

“The cost of this ineptitude is denominated in corpses [not to mention countless millions of Iraqis birth deformed, maimed, and dead, whole systems, infrastructure, ways of living ruined]. Since 2001, 6,845 US soldiers have been killed in the United States’ Middle East war theater. Thousands more have returned home ruined by the physical and psychological ravages of combat.” [Montz]

Iraq's children

Decades old barbarism needs to end

They do not fund nor do they value education but the violence of sport and the violence of war—
Monday nights and Sundays, ringside seats at the tube watching men “giving each other concussions.” [Echoes of an Abby Martin essay this week]

“There is a long tradition of likening football to war, from paeans to the ‘generalship’ of quarterbacks in the 1890s to the ‘wars in the trenches’ of the modern game.”

Swapping Nomenclature: “While coaches and sportswriters have adopted military language over the years, the military has sometimes adopted football terminology”: “‘Operation Goalpost’” and “‘Operation Varsity’” during World War II; “‘Operation Linebacker’” during the war against Vietnam.

In the 1960s, football was “warlike” and “political.” US President Richard Nixon “used football … to identify with his ‘silent majority’ against his enemies.…”

Orange Bowl (then the Super Bowl) “pregame and halftime” pageantry showcased “elaborate patriotic displays.” And brainwashed or brain dead football fans “came to take this football-related ‘patriotism’, a brand of flag-waving … super-patriotism, for granted—as if it were embedded in long tradition, perhaps even in the very nature of the game. [But] it was not and is not.” [Michael Oriard writes November 17, 2009, in “Flag Football: How the NFL became the American war game.”]

Sources and notes

Rob Montz is a Searle Fellow at Reason TV.

According to its website, Reason, a foundation and media outlet, “covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews; … provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity; is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.’… Reason and Reason.com are editorially independent publications of the Reason Foundation, a national, non-profit research and educational organization.”

Rowan Kane is a writer based in Connecticut and editor of The Volterra.

Michael Oriard is an author and filmmaker.





A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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